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Atonic Seizures In Children

Atonic seizures in children are a generalized seizure disorder with brief episodes of complete loss of muscle tone and consciousness.

These children suddenly collapse and are at great risk of a closed head injury with possible secondary injuries.

These could include a skull fracture or brain hemorrhage and then lead to epilepsy due to the scarring in the brain (called secondary epilepsy). Like infantile spasms and myoclonic seizures they are difficult to treat.


Valproic acid is usually the first line of therapy, if this fails, clonazepam would be the next in line, followed by ethosuximide and acetazolamide (see under therapy for absence seizures).

Here is a site that explains the Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (thanks to for this link) a severe form of epilepsy with tonic and atonic seizures.

 Atonic Seizures In Children

Atonic Seizures In Children



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4. DJ Yen et al. Epilepsia 2000 Sep 41(9) 1162-1166.

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6. The Merck Manual, 7th edition, by M. H. Beers et al., Whitehouse Station, N.J., 1999. Chapter 172.

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8. Ferri: Ferri’s Clinical Advisor: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment, 2004 ed., Copyright © 2004 Mosby, Inc.

9. Rakel: Conn’s Current Therapy 2004, 56th ed., Copyright © 2004 Elsevier

Last modified: November 10, 2014

This outline is only a teaching aid to patients and should stimulate you to ask the right questions when seeing your doctor. However, the responsibility of treatment stays in the hands of your doctor and you.